Friction Bit Joining (FBJ) is a new technology that allows lightweight metals to be joined to advanced high-strength steels (AHSS). Joining of dissimilar metals is especially beneficial to the automotive industry because of the desire to use materials such as aluminum and AHSS in order to reduce weight and increase fuel efficiency. In this study, FBJ was used to join 7075 aluminum and DP980 ultra-high-strength steel. FBJ is a two-stage process using a consumable bit. In the first stage, the bit cuts through the top material (aluminum), and in the second stage the bit is friction welded to the base material (steel). The purpose of the research was to examine the impact a solid head bit design would have on joint strength, manufacturability, and ease of automation. The solid head design was driven externally. This design was compared to a previous internally driven head design. Joint strength was assessed according to an automotive standard established by Honda. Joints were mechanically tested in lap-shear tension, cross-tension, and peel configurations. Joints were also fatigue tested, cycling between loads of 100 N and 750 N. The failure modes that joints could experience during testing include: head, nugget, material, or interfacial failure. All tested specimens in this research experienced interfacial failure. Welds were also created and examined under a microscope in order to validate a simulation model of the FBJ process. The simulation model predicted a similar weld shape and bond length with 5 percent accuracy. Joints made with external bits demonstrated comparable joint strength to internal bits in lap-shear tension and cross-tension testing. Only external bits were tested after lap-shear tension, because it was determined that external bits would perform comparably to internal bits. Joints made with external bits also exceeded the standard for failure during fatigue testing. Peel tested specimens did not meet the required strength for the automotive standard. Examining specimens under a microscope revealed micro-cracks in the weld. These defects have been shown to decrease joint strength. Joint strength, especially during peel testing, could be increased by reducing the presence of micro-cracks. The external bit design is an improvement from the internal bits for manufacturability and ability to be automated, because of the less-expensive processes used to form the bit heads and the design that lends to ease of alignment.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Rebecca Peterson, friction bit joining, FBJ, dissimilar metals, advanced high-strength steel, aluminum, DP980, automotive manufacturing, joint strength